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Work with content in lists and libraries

Create and populate libraries

A library is a location in a site where you can create, collect, update, and manage documents and other files with other team members. Each library displays a list of files and key information about the files, which helps people use the files to work together. In the business world, being able to work with documents quickly and effectively is of paramount importance.

You can use libraries to store your documents and other files on a SharePoint site rather than on your local computer’s hard drive, so that coworkers can find and work with them more easily. Libraries are used to store files, whereas lists are used to store other types of content. Like lists, libraries contain metadata stored in columns that you can use to filter, sort, and group the items.

After you have created a library, you can populate it with files. For example, you can upload existing documents into a document library, or you can create new documents from within the library based on the default document template for the library. After documents are placed in the library, you can search and filter them to make it easier to find what you are looking for, and you can collaborate with others to help develop the final version of a document. You can edit documents in a SharePoint library by using an Office client program such as Word or an Office Online program such as Word Online.

Create libraries

When you create a new SharePoint team site, a generic document library called Documents is created. Because this library lacks a descriptive name, a best practice is to create a new library for a particular business category or subject instead of just using the Documents library for your documents. Make sure that the names of your document libraries are descriptive and that each library has a specific topic, to make it easier to find documents. Storing all documents together in the default Documents library—or any one document library—defeats the purpose of using SharePoint sites to make information easier to locate.

When a library is created, a new tile for this library is added to the Site Contents page with a green “new” icon to the right of the tile. A link to the new library is shown on the Quick Launch, in the Recent section.

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The Site Contents page with a new tile for the newly created Furniture library and a new link to the library in the Recent section on the Quick Launch

The procedure in this section also applies to creating types of libraries other than document libraries.

To create a library

  1. Display the Your Apps page.

  2. Select the tile for the type of library you want to create, such as Document Library. The Adding Library dialog opens.

  3. In the Name box, enter a name for the new library, such as Furniture.

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    Creating a new library

  5. Select Create.

Upload existing files

There are several ways to add existing files to a library, including the following:

  • You can use your browser to upload files to the library via the SharePoint interface.

  • You can use File Explorer to copy or move files into the library, such as by dragging them from your desktop or any other location to SharePoint.

  • You can use sync to upload files that are stored offline.

This section focuses on the first two methods: using your browser and using File Explorer. The “Work offline” topic later in this chapter covers using sync to add a file to a library.

To add a file to a library by using a browser

  1. Go to a library you want to add a file to.

  2. Do one of the following to open the Add A Document dialog:

    • In the library, in the body of the page, select Upload.

    • On the keyboard, press Alt+U.

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    Uploading a file to a library

  3. Select Browse to open the Open dialog, browse to the file you want to upload, select the file, and then select Open.

  4. In the Add a document dialog, select OK to confirm the upload and return to the library.

To add files to a library by dragging

  1. In a library you want to add files to, open File Explorer, and navigate to the folder where the files you want to add are located.

  2. Position the File Explorer window next to the browser window displaying the library so that you can drag files from File Explorer to the browser.

  3. In File Explorer, select the files to upload by doing one of the following:

    • To add one file, select the file.

    • To add multiple files, press and hold down the Ctrl key when you select the files.

  4. Drag the files to the library in the browser window, to where it says Drag files here to upload.

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    Drag files to where it says “Drag files here to upload”

  6. After the upload, select Dismiss at the top of the documents list to dismiss the confirmation message that an upload has been completed.

To add files to a library by using copy and paste

  1. In a library you want to add a file or files to, on the Library tab, in the Connect and Export group, select Open with Explorer.

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    The Library tab

    The library content is displayed in File Explorer. Displaying the SharePoint library content in File Explorer is referred to as an Explorer View.

  3. Open another instance of File Explorer, navigate to the folder where the files you want to add are located, and select the files.

  4. Copy the files by doing one of the following:

    • In File Explorer, from the shortcut menu, select Copy.

    • Press Ctrl+C on the keyboard.

  5. Go to the File Explorer window that is displaying the library files, and do one of the following to add the files to the library:

    • From the document’s shortcut menu, select Paste.

    • Press Ctrl+V on the keyboard.

Create documents from a library

You can create new Office documents directly from a SharePoint library. A new document will be based on a default template for the library.

You can create a new document in the Office client program, such as Word, if it is installed on your device. You can also create it in your browser, by using an Office Online program such as Word Online.

To create a document from a library by using an Office Online program such as Word Online

  1. Go to a library in which you want to create a document.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • In the document library, in the body of the page, select New.

    • On the keyboard, press Alt+N.

  3. Select the type of document you want to create.

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    Types of Office documents that can be created from a library

    A new document opens in the Office Online program you selected. For example, selecting Word Document opens Word Online.

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    A new document in Word Online

  5. The new document is automatically saved in the library with the default name that is shown in the title bar, such as Document. To rename the document, select its name in the title bar, enter the new name, and then press Enter.

  6. Add the content you want to the new document.

  7. When you’re done, return to the library where the file is saved by doing one of the following:

    • Select the site link in the title bar, to the left of the file name.

    • Select the Back button in your browser.

  8. On the library page, select Refresh to confirm that your new document is now listed in the library.

To create a document from a library by using Word

  1. Go to a library in which you want to create a document.

  2. On the Files tab, in the New group, select New Document.

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    The New group on the Files tab

  4. A new document opens in the Word client program. If a warning about allowing this website to open a program on your device appears, select Allow.

  5. If prompted, provide your user name and password for the SharePoint site.

  6. If a Read-Only banner appears at the top of the document, select Edit Document.

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    The Read-Only banner that appears when a SharePoint document is opened in Word

  8. Add the content you want to the new document.

  9. When you’re done, go to the File tab and select Save to save the document to the document library.

  10. To name the file, under Current Folder, select the library to open the Save As dialog box. Note that the location points to the document library.

  11. Enter the name of the new document, and then select Save.

  12. In the browser, refresh the library page to confirm that your new document is listed in the library.

Edit documents

In SharePoint, you can edit documents in Office client programs such as Word and Excel or in your browser by using Office Online apps that provide online companion web apps to Office client programs, such as Word Online or Excel Online. (For more information, see the “Office Online programs” sidebar earlier in this topic.)

When you’re on the move, it is often very useful to be able to edit your documents within a browser, without the need for the client program to be installed on the device you’re using.

To edit a document in an Office client program from a library

  1. Go to the library that contains the document you want to edit.

  2. Open the document for editing in the Office client program by doing one of the following:

    • Select the ellipsis to the right of the document’s name, and in the callout that opens, do one of the following:

      • Select Open.

      • Select the ellipsis, and then select Open in Word.

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      Opening a Word document for editing in the Word client

    • Display the document’s shortcut menu, and then select Open in Word.

    • Select the document by clicking or tapping in its leftmost column, go to the Files tab, and then select Edit Document.

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    The Edit Document button on the Files tab

  3. The document opens in the Office client program such as Word. Do the following:

    • If a warning about allowing this website to open a program on your computer appears, select Allow.

    • If a warning about the document appears, select Yes to confirm that you want to proceed with opening a file.

    • If prompted, provide your user name and password for the SharePoint site.

    • If a Read-Only banner appears at the top of the document, select Edit Document.

  4. In Word, edit the document.

  5. On the File tab, select Save to save the document to the document library.

To edit a document in Office Online from a library

  1. Go to the library that contains the document you want to edit.

  2. Open the document in its corresponding Office Online app by doing one of the following:

    • Display the document’s shortcut menu by right-clicking the document name, or on touch devices by pressing and holding the document name, and select Open in Office App Online (for example, Open In Word Online).

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      Opening a document in Word Online

    • Select the ellipsis to the right of the document’s name, and in the callout that opens, select the ellipsis, and then select Open in Office App Online (for example, Open In Word Online).

    • Click or tap the document you want to edit.

  3. The document opens in Office Online. If the document opens for viewing, select Edit Document and then select Edit in Office App Online (for example, Edit In Word Online).

  4. When you make your edits, the document is saved automatically.

  5. When you’re done, return to the library where the file is saved by doing one of the following:

    • Select the site link in the title bar, to the left of the file name.

    • Select the Back button in your browser.

  6. In the library, select Refresh and confirm that the document has been saved to the library by checking its timestamp.

To rename a file in a library

  1. In the library that contains the file you want to rename, display the file’s shortcut menu, and select Rename.

  2. On the file page, enter a new name in the Name box, and select Save.

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Renaming a document